What is the Tradition of Jumping the Broom?

The ancient and African-centered activity of broom jumping has emerged as one of the most popular African wedding customs in recent years. According to what is said in “Jumping the Broom,” a novel written by Harriette Cole. The actual ceremony was developed by our forefathers when they were held in slavery.

Slaves were not allowed to marry under any circumstances, so they devised their own ceremonies to mark the occasion of their marriage. Some people believe that broom leaping originated in an African tribal marriage custom that included putting sticks on the ground to symbolize the new house of the newlywed couple.

The act of leaping over the broom represents clearing away the old in order to make place for the new, or it may be seen as a sign of a fresh start.

Today, the ceremony might take place either at the wedding, immediately after the minister’s proclamation that the couple is now husband and wife, or during the reception, immediately following the entrance of the bridal party into the reception area.

How to perform a broom jumping ceremony?

Supplies: Broom, Ribbon

A broom that is completely adorned may be obtained at businesses that specialize in ethnic goods; however, a standard broom that is used in the home will do. There is a range of broom sizes available; nonetheless, your selection is irrelevant. If you want to use your own broom and decorate it yourself for the wedding, you will want to make sure that the colors match those of the wedding. A fun activity for the bridesmaids to do together before the wedding may be to use their own brooms, either the night before or throughout the week leading up to the big day.

To give it a one-of-a-kind look, feel free to personalize it with ribbons, flowers (real or fake), or any other kind of item. But don’t overdo it. You should definitely consider keeping this as a memento in your house. Allow the guests at the wedding or reception to decorate the broom by tying ribbons around it using pieces of ribbon that have been provided in a basket nearby. This may be done before to the start of the ceremony. Because of this, audience members are given the opportunity to engage, which is consistent with the customary role of community interaction in African culture.

The Ceremony

Instruct the host to invite guests to stand in a circle around the couple while they are standing in front of the broom that is placed on the floor.

The host should talk about the significance of the broom in terms of how it connects to the marriage of the couple, the coming together of their two families, and the requirement that the community rally behind them as they start their new lives together. In the meanwhile, have the pair grasp the broom handle together and move it around in a circle while they wait for the host or whoever has been appointed to complete talking.

The next step is for the groom to set the broom down on the ground and take the hand of the bride.

Have everyone count 1, 2, 3… Jump!

History of the Ritual

In America, the traditions of people of color had to be invented from scratch. When people from West Africa were brought to these shores against their will some 400 years ago, they were robbed of a great deal of what rightfully belonged to them, including their homeland, the social structure of their communities, their freedom, and in some cases, even their sometimes sexist ways of life. Africans were enslaved almost immediately after Europeans introduced the practice, and not long after that, the legal system began denying them the right to wed. It seems that slaveholders believed that the persons they held prisoner were not actual humans but rather were property that could be bought and traded. They have no rights as a result of this. Slaves may also find strength in numbers if they were permitted to officially marry and live together, which might lead to a revolution against their masters. To add insult to injury, the law swiftly and harshly forbade these early allies of white settlers from marrying their white counterparts, a circumstance that continues to be a sensitive issue for interracial couples in the modern day.

However, the individuals who were enslaved were spiritual people who had been taught rituals beginning when they were children in order to get them ready for the major transition into family life. How could they let themselves be led down this path of denial? They were unable to. As a result, they developed their ingenuity. Their ingenuity resulted in the creation of the age-old custom of leaping the broom. For many African peoples, the broom itself carried spiritual importance since it represented the beginning of a couple’s journey into the world of homemaking. For instance, among the Kgatla people of southern Africa, it was traditional for the bride to assist the other women in the family in sweeping the courtyard clean on the day after the wedding. This served as a symbol of the bride’s willingness and obligation to assist in housework at her in-laws’ residence until the couple moved into their own home. During the time of slavery, a couple would physically leap over a broom into the seat of marriage to the ever-present beat of the talking drum (this practice continued until drums themselves were made illegal since they were seen as a potentially harmful mode of communication). This custom, along with a great number of others, is now making a comeback at wedding ceremonies all over the world.

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